Tristan Walker is living proof that the saying “necessity is the mother of invention” still applies. While getting ready for work one day, he wondered what it would be like to shave without discomfort.
“No brands of shaving products catered to people like me,” said the Stony Brook University 2005 economics graduate and valedictorian, who is originally from Queens, New York, and worked as a trader on Wall Street for a short time after graduation.
Using the social media skills he acquired during his five-month internship at Twitter Inc., Walker raised $2.4 million in May 2013 to start his company. Social media is also helping Bevel find its way into more and more homes. Walker & Company consists of Walker (CEO), two engineers, two financial operational specialists, a designer and a marketer, who also serves as a customer service representative.
Now Walker is well on his way toward establishing himself as one of his generation’s most heralded young entrepreneurs. He has already been named to the Ebony Magazine 100 Most Powerful People list, the Hollywood Reporter’s Digital Power 50 and Black Enterprise’s 40 Next.
“I’m always thinking, ‘What can make this world a little better and our lives simpler and easier?’” Walker said, regarding the inspiration behind his inventive nature. “My mind is in perpetual motion.”
Bevel, which Walker describes as “the first end-to-end solution to fix razor bumps for men,” is a six-piece kit that includes a specially designed razor, creams, depilatories, and after-shave. It’s designed to meet the special needs of black men, 80% of whom tend to experience skin irritations after shaving, primarily due to curly whiskers.
Walker’s inspiration to become a successful entrepreneur in a New York minute came from growing up in a single-parent household. His mother served as his first and most enduring role model, instilling in him the work ethic that helped him thrive. “She worked for the New York City Housing Authority for 20 years,” Walker said
Although his stint on Wall Street was little more than a pit stop on the road to realizing his dream, Walker learned valuable lessons there. “One gentleman told me that the first third of your life should be learning, the second earning and the third returning.”
Although he is still in the earning phase, Walker is already looking to make life easier for underrepresented budding entrepreneurs. To that end, he founded CODE2040, a nonprofit organization that creates access, awareness, and opportunities in technology and engineering for Blacks, Latinos, and underrepresented minority students.
Walker has some powerful advice for those students — counsel he wished he had been privy to while he was in college.
“The power is shifting back towards the producers,” he said. “America has become a country of consumers. And software, not hardware, is where the future is heading. The universal language will be spoken by the computer scientists and the engineers.”
In spite of all of his accolades and success, Walker remains focused. “This story is still being written,” he said.
Read the full story at StonyBrook.edu.